friends.jpg  I have come to notice a way of life among Midwestern women that makes me wonder if we really didn’t all grow up under a rock somewhere on the moon.  I can’t believe that so many smart, cultured, well educated women still hold strange thoughts as to what it means to be a friend.  The kind of friend that you can always count on, confide in, and trust no matter where life takes you, either physically or emotionally.  I count myself in this group of the misguided and misunderstood.

I am talking about leaving each other alone.  Leaving each other alone in times of need, in times that are tough, in times that are fraught with tears and pain.  Whether the it’s a moment of emotional frazzle or an emotional epic, we leave the girls we love, alone.  The logic is this:  You have a friend going through a tough time.  They are irritable, a little distant, a little self focused, and down on life.  They confide in you about their issues and troubles.  You feel really really bad for them and then you give them some time alone to “deal” with their problems.  You assume they will contact you when they have sorted things out and are okay.

UUGH!  I can’t believe that we do this to each other!  Don’t we know that women need to talk?  Don’t we know that “being left alone to deal”  isolates us and takes away our power as a group of strong women?  It is in our nature to share verbally our thoughts and needs.  We are blessed with nurturing spirits and yet at times we deny our closest confidants of these gifts. 

I would never say that this is done intentionally.  I am not sure where this backwards logic originated but I think it is more common than we care to admit.  Perhaps it stems from a feeling of not know what to say or do, so we don’t do anything at all.  Perhaps, it is because we all take on so much in our own lives that we selfishly don’t want to be burdened with other’s issues as well.  Whatever the reason, it’s still doesn’t make sense logically.  Then again, men always say women are illogical creatures.

I am guilty.  If this was a crime, I would be on death row.  I have had 3 conversations this past week with girlfriends that I have either blindly used this coping strategy with or they in turn have used with me.  It makes me sad to say this is how we ignorantly help by withdrawing our show of support.  I am determined to change my friendships by being more honest, more forthcoming, and more supportive.

Friends, when you come to me in times of struggle and need, I will ask what I can do.  I will call to check up on you if you disappear.  I will show up on your door step with “adult beverages” and the movie “Steel Magnolias”.  We will laugh, we will cry, we will get a little tipsy, and we will solve all of our lifes problems.  Because I don’t think solitary confinement is useful in building strong relationships.  Surprisingly, I think it might hurt us all.